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A new convention debuts in D.C. next month from the folks behind the Museum of Science Fiction, and they’ve dubbed it Escape Velocity.


They’re trying to make it more than just a con, but rather “a micro futuristic world’s fair.” Don’t worry, though—there’ll be plenty of the expected panels as well. And I’ll be on two of them—

Star Wars: Then and Now
Sunday July 3rd 12:30
An open-ended discussion on the Star Wars universe following the inclusion of The Force Awakens to the series. How has the universe changed? How has it stayed the same? How did the returning cast do after so many years away?

Strangers in a Strange Land: What is ‘Science Fiction’ and Where Is It Going?
Sunday July 3rd 3:00
A free-wheeling discussion between panelists and the audience about what does—or does not—count as science fiction. Are there common misconceptions about what qualifies? Or are we too limited in our thinking? What does the vox populi consider to be science fiction versus that of science fiction aficionados? Ultimately, who’s to say what is or is not science fiction?

If you make it to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center for Escape Velocity, be sure to say hi!


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

The livestream announcing the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2016 wrapped up about an hour ago, resulting in a surprise at the top, since the assumption was that #1 would go to one of the two restaurants which had been trading off that spot recently—either Noma or El Celler de Can Roca.


A personal surprise, though, was that I’d dined at more restaurants out of this Top 50 than any previous list. When the lists for 2013 and 2014 were announced, it turned out I’d already been to four of the Top 50 for those years, which rose to seven for 2015, and now for this year, that number has risen to eight …

And you can find out what I thought of each of those meals by clicking on the links below. (Note, though, that my visits took place on the dates of the individual posts, and not during the past 12 months.)

1. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
2. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
3. Eleven Madison Park, New York City, U.S.A.
4. Central, Lima, Peru
5. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
6. Mirazur, Menton, France
7. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
8. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
9. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
10. Asador Etxebarri, Axpe, Spain
11. D.O.M., Sao Paolo, Brazil
12. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
13. Maido, Lima, Peru
14. The Ledbury, London, United Kingdom
15. Alinea, Chicago, U.S.A.
16. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
17. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
18. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
19. Arpège, Paris, France
20. Amber, Hong Kong, China
21. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
22. Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
23. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
24. Le Bernardin, New York City, U.S.A.
25. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
26. The Clove Club, London, United Kingdom
27. Saison, San Francisco, U.S.A.
28. Geranium, Copenhagen, Denmark
29. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain
30. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
31. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
32. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
33. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
34. Restaurant Tim Raue, Berlin, Germany
35. Vendome, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
36. Boragó, Santiago, Chile
37. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
38. De Librije, Zwolle, Netherlands
39. Le Calendre, Rubano, Italy
40. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark
41. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
42. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai, China
43. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
44. Estela, New York, U.S.A.
45. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, United Kingdom
46. Combal Zero, Rivoli, Italy
47. Schloss Schauenstein, Austria Furstenau, Switzerland
48. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocatino Hills, New York
49. Quique Dacosta, Deniam, Spain
50. Septime, Paris, France

I don’t think I’ll be able to get to any of the others before the 2017 list is announced … but I can always dream, can’t I?


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Last month, I seemed to have fewer dreams than usual. Was it because of all the con travel, which included StokerCon and Balticon? Or because I spent more time writing and less time sleeping? Whatever the reason, in May I recorded fewer dreams than during any month since I began sharing them with you on Twitter back in 2009.

Which may also explain why it’s taken me this deep in June to harvest them for you.

In any case, last month I dreamt of Gary Gilmore, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Helen Mirren, Bill Gaines, and more.

May 2016

I dreamt I was at @Readercon, and saw Paul Di Filippo and Barry Malzberg in the distance … but I spent most of my time with Helen Mirren.
 May 28

I dreamt the U.S. Army recruited me to train a large, colorful South American parrot as a weapon of war … but we bonded … and rebelled.
 May 27

I dreamt I was with @Nalo_Hopkinson, in her library, surrounded by her books and awards, collaborating on a menu for a huge feast.
 May 25

I dreamt I was John Candy involved in a car chase through the streets of Los Angeles … but I woke before I caught whoever I was chasing.
 May 24

I dreamt I returned to my room after a long day at a convention, popped open a bottle of champagne, and sang Sondheim’s “Ladies Who Lunch.”
 May 24

I dreamt I was running from coast to coast across the U.S. without a break, constantly in motion with no rest or sleep. I was doing it, too!
 May 20

I dreamt @Lin_Manuel was thinking of adapting a story of mine about space gorillas into a musical and I was anxiously awaiting his decision.
 May 20

I dreamt I worked for NASA and missed something big in my mother’s life because I was in space. We were interviewed on TV when I returned.
 May 20

I dream it was NOW and I was writing a comics script in which Archie Andrews teamed up with Lenny Bruce to go on a wild road trip.
 May 19

I dreamt it was the ’70s, and I was in the Marvel Bullpen writing word balloons for an issue of the X-Men over art drawn by Barry Smith.
 May 19

I dreamt I showed up at @NextRestaurant with a huge wedding party, and they were able to seat us spontaneously. THAT’S an impossible dream!
 May 18

I dreamt I was walking with Al Feldstein when we spotted Bill Gaines. I asked Al if I could get a photo of them together — but he refused!
 May 18

I dreamt I helped @TimPratt clear out his house because of an approaching fire, and as flames neared, I suddenly paused to make egg salad.
 May 17

I dreamt I was visiting friends who lived next to a chemical plant when a poison cloud leaked, so we hid in the basement. Where I wrote.
 May 10

I had a complex dream in which Gary Gilmore was campaigning for Donald Trump … but remember little more than that. (And I should be glad.)
 May 3

I dreamt @John_Clute showed me a beautiful new book by @Liz_Hand which included woodcut frontispiece art and a blurb by Galway Kinnell.
 May 3


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Are you up for lunch at a spot in Las Vegas once once dubbed “the best Thai restaurant in America” by Gourmet magazine? Then pull up a chair to the table at Lotus of Siam, where Mary Turzillo and I snuck away to during StokerCon for some great food—and great conversation. You can eavesdrop on the latter, but as for the former, the photos below will have to suffice.

I had the great honor of publishing Mary’s story “Mars is No Place for Children” when I was the editor of Science Fiction Age, and then the additional honor of being Toastmaster at the Nebula Awards banquet the year she walked away with a trophy for that very story.


We talked about whether there’s a Venn Diagram overlap between her horror and science fiction readership, how her Cajun Sushi Hamsters from Hell writers workshop got its name, why she won’t be self-publishing her unpublished novels, what Gene Wolfe taught her about revising her fiction, and much more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Has it really been three years since I last shared any of my uke strumming? How did that happen? By now, you’ve probably forgotten I even own one of those weapons of mass entertainment.

Let’s remedy that, shall we?

I’ve been taking part in a local ukulele club here in the Eastern Panhandle since late last year, and Ernie Bradley invited us to join his Grassy Ridge Band at Orr’s Farm Market earlier today for the 10th Annual North Mountain Arts Festival. He asked each of us ukers to perform a song, and I chose a silly one I fell in love with when I was 10—“May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens.

Having some bluegrass pickers who know what they’re doing sure does make me sound a whole lot better that I actually am!


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Late last year, when I told you about the sale I’d made to the science fiction anthology You, Human, I failed to tell you the title of the story. That was deliberate.

Michael Bailey, the book’s editor, wanted to reveal the full Table of Contents at once. So I held off. Until now.

Because Michael has shared all.

And the title of the story you’ll be able to read later this year in You, Human is …


“101 Things to Do Before You’re Downloaded”

Check out the full list of authors—and the titles of their stories—over on the Written Backwards blog.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

During the recent StokerCon in Las Vegas, I did what I always do during conventions—slip away as often as possible to chow down and catch up with friends. One of those meals took place in old-timey ice cream parlor Serendipity 3, and was recorded (as so many convention meals will be from now on) as an episode of Eating the Fantastic.

My dinner companion this time around was Maria Alexander, whose debut novel, Mr. Wicker, won the 2014 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. But in addition to being a novelist, Maria’s also a poet, screenwriter, games writer, swordswoman, and so much more—and I attempted to explore all those facets in this episode.


So join us as we discuss Mr. Wicker‘s transformation from a short story to a screenplay to a Stoker Award-winning novel, how she convinced Clive Barker to be her mentor, what’s wrong with most of the swordswomen we see on book covers and TV, and much more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

From the moment I arrived at the recent StokerCon in Las Vegas, I proudly wore a 5-Time Stoker Award Loser button which I’d made up proclaiming my 5-0 finalist status, as can be seen in this photo with Jennifer Brozek.


But everything changed the night of the awards banquet …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Balticon’s coming up next weekend, and it’s not just any Balticon—it’s the 50th Balticon. And this year the committee has gathered together as many former Guests of Honor as possible from previous incarnations of the convention.


Who else will be there?


If you’ll be there, too, here’s where to find me.

Gimungous Autograph Session
Saturday 2:00-3:15 p.m. (Kent)

The Fine Art of Rejection
Saturday 5:00-15:50 p.m. (Parlor 9059)
Editors answer the hard questions. What are your deal-breakers? How do you winnow that mountain down into the select few choices? What makes your task harder? How do you decide when a story deserves more than a form rejection?

Readings: Christiana Ellis, Scott Edelman, Christopher Rose, Don Sakers
Saturday 16:00-16:50 (Parlor 9059)

How to Give and Get Critiques
Monday 11:00-11:50 a.m. (Parlor)
What goes into being a good critiquer. How to listen to others’ critiques of your work. Where to find critique partners, online and in person.

What’s Hot in Short Fiction?
Monday 12:00-12:50 p.m. (Parlor 8029)

See you there!

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Remember when I told you I’d been honored with a sixth Stoker Award nomination, and that whatever ended up happening, win or lose, I’d win?

Well, I did win Saturday.

No, not that way. The other way.


The trophy for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction was taken home by co-finalist Mercedes Yardley, with whom I got into a brawl when I’d spotted her inside a candy store earlier that afternoon.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I got together with Lynne Hansen and Jeff Strand for lunch earlier today at the Carnegie Deli inside The Mirage for the first of what I hope will be five episodes of Eating the Fantastic recorded during the inaugural StokerCon in Las Vegas.

Lynne is a horror novelist turned filmmaker whose recent short, Chomp, received 21 nominations at a variety of film festivals, winning 7 times, including the Fright Meter Awards Best Short Horror Film of 2015, and Jeff Strand is not only the author of the wonderfully titled horror novels I Have a Bad Feeling About This and The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever (and many others)—he’ll also be the emcee Saturday for the Stoker Awards banquet.


Over sandwiches which were —unexpectedly for a deli like the Carnegie—not quite as big as a baby, we chatted about how the horror supercouple came together after the 1995 World Horror Convention, why she’s moved on from novels to movies while he’s gone in exactly the opposite direction, what writers must keep in mind when creating YA horror, how she’s turning one of his novellas into a full-length movie titled Cold Dead Hands, and much more.

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04 May 2016 @ 09:25 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Three years ago, I started using a Fitbit Flex, and on my first and second anniversaries I let you know how I was doing. Now that another anniversary is here—on Star Wars day, as usual—how’d I do during that third year?

Not as well as I’d hoped.

Thanks to a fall I took midway through the year that banged up my left leg plus a bout of severe toothaches late in the year that made it hurt to walk (both of which I’ve recovered from by the way), I only took 3,900,704 steps over the past 12 months, versus 4,078,838 steps the first year and 4,107,515 steps the second.


Still, 12,087,057 steps —which works out to 6,017.93 miles—over 36 months is far better than anything I was doing prior to buying the device.

But I still broke a record thanks to my greatest single day ever—October 17, 2015, on which I took 35,294 steps, walking 17.57 miles through Brooklyn and Manhattan, breaking the first and second-year records of 28,398 steps (14.15 miles) and 35,283 steps (17.56 miles) respectively.

As for step badges, here’s how many I’ve earned in total, plus the breakdown for each year.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Whenever I get to feeling maybe I shouldn’t bother continuing to share my dreams over on Twitter, that no one could possible care about them, someone surprises me by … well … caring. I’m always amazed when someone asks, “Is anything wrong? You haven’t posted many dreams lately!”

So for them, if not for you, I’ve gathered my dreams tweets from April below, which feature guest appearances by Nichelle Nichols, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rick Moranis, David Letterman and more.

And so … I dream on.

April 2016

I dreamt I tried to show @mojaveb a jacket I’d bought—it was Michael Jackson’s from Thriller—but it kept turning into the wrong one! Apr 30

I dreamt I was at David Letterman’s house, ignoring all of his no-so-subtle hints I should leave. Instead, I kept trying to make him laugh. Apr 30

I dreamt I worked with Don Draper, who wanted me to head out to a party. But I insisted I’d rather be home with my wife. (He was not happy.) Apr 30

I dreamt I wandered a romance convention trying to find my wife … and instead found Nichelle Nichols! Never found my wife, though. Apr 29

I dreamt I was President Obama, in a theater introducing a special performance of Hamilton to an appreciative kids-only audience. Apr 28

I dreamt I visited Marie Severin’s mausoleum with my parents—which is doubly strange, because IRL she’s still around while they’re not! Apr 28

Lost a dream because all I can read of my night note is “ME & [TWO ILLEGIBLE WORDS] ALIEN INVASION.” So my memory catalyst has failed me! Apr 24

I dreamt I wandered with a toddler through an obstacle-filled city, and as I went over and around them, he went under and through. A lesson? Apr 24

There is no dream so sad as the one in which you buy a pie, begin to eat that pie, and from which you wake to discover—THERE IS NO PIE. Apr 21

I dreamt I was on a flight home from Moscow, but for some reason we were being forbidden to enter U.S. airspace, and so had to turn back. Apr 19 Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Last night, I attended a screening of experimental films at The Arts Centre in Martinsburg, hosted by Don Diego Ramirez, director of the award-winning documentary Trailer Trash. He showed us the works of Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Stan VanDerBeek and others, plus one of his own student films. Equally interesting was the display of camera equipment, as well as books and magazines related to independent filmmaking.

A certain copy of Super 8 Filmaker caught my eye. Take a look and I’m sure you’ll understand why.


Seeing Spider-Man on the cover of an October 1974 magazine—which based on magazine cover dates and publishing schedules could have gone on sale just a few weeks after I started working at Marvel Comics—stirred some memories. And flipping to the Table of Contents to see who wrote that cover story stirred a few more …Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


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The latest episode of Eating the Fantastic was recorded 15 years before Eating the Fantastic began.

How is that possible?

Well, when it comes to Chip Delany, all things are possible.

On June 18, 2001, while Chip was in the middle of a book tour supporting the 25th anniversary republication of Dhalgren, I interviewed him at Bistro Bis in the Hotel George. The recording I made that day wasn’t created to be heard, but was merely a tool so it could be transcribed and run as text in Science Fiction Weekly, a site I edited during my 13 years at the Syfy Channel.

It had been awhile since I’d thought of that interview, but once I got the first half dozen episodes of Eating the Fantastic live—all of which you can download from iTunes—I dug deep into the vault and found the tapes of that meal. And when I asked Chip if he’d mind me sharing that audio with you, he was gracious enough to say—go for it!


We took no photos that day— of either the food or each other—so this pic of us together during the 2014 Nebula Awards weekend will have to suffice. Knock off a decade or so of age and you’ll get the idea.

And now it’s time to time travel back to 2001 for lunch with Chip as we discuss the 25th anniversary edition of his magnum opus Dhalgren, the “sheer madness” of trying to write such a book in the first place, the state of the science fiction field during the mid-‘70s, the joys he receives from teaching, and much more.

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22 April 2016 @ 09:27 pm

Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

As some of you may know, I wrote a biography of Joanie Laurer a.k.a. Chyna that was published in 2000. Because it was unauthorized, I never interviewed her, and so assembled the book based on the facts I already knew from editing a pro wrestling magazine plus what I could pick up through research, which I combined to tell the arc of her life up until then.


On hearing of her death, I went back and skimmed what I’d written, which led me to the following paragraphs near the end of the book—

When Joanie Laurer transformed herself from an uncertain teenager into Chyna, the Ninth Wonder of the World, she became many things, not all of them expected. If life went as she had planned and hoped from the beginning, she knew that she would have money and fame without limit. But it is doubtful she could have foreseen that she would not only become a celebrity, but she would also be taken up as a role model and a feminist icon. We expect wrestling to be entertaining, not inspirational. How refreshing that Joanie Laurer was able to surprise us all by doing both.

The corporate world has its infamous glass ceiling, and though this woman warrior went in for the Federation instead of the corporation, Joanie Laurer has burst all expectations in her own way, by ripping through wrestling’s canvas ceiling.

Hyperbolic much? Yes. But hey, why shouldn’t writing about pro wrestling be hyperbolic?

In any case, however purple the prose, I stand by those feelings, which remain sincere.

I liked her before I was contracted to write Warrior Queen, and in the writing of it, came to like her even more. I’d hoped she’d live into her 90s, like Mae Young, but alas, she only made it half as far.


R.I.P. to the Ninth Wonder of the World.


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

Back in February, I revealed the title of a story of mine which was to appear in the next issue of Postscripts. It’s my second-longest title ever, falling one word short of my longest—”How Amraphel, the Assistant to Dream, Became a Thief, Lost His Job, and Found His Way.”

Well, the issue containing “The Man Without the Blue Balloon and the Woman Who Had Smiles Only for Him” is now available from PS Publishing, and here’s the cover, which eerily captures the volume’s subtitle, “The Dragons of the Night.”


For the full Table of Contents, check out my earlier post, or take a look at this full cover spread, which includes the authors and story titles on the inside front cover flap.


The marks my fifth short story publication in Postscripts. Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers have been good to me. I hope that when you read “The Man Without the Blue Balloon and the Woman Who Had Smiles Only for Him,” you’ll feel that confidence has been justified.


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Andy Duncan and I got together Wednesday at the Princess Cafe—where Harry and Bess Truman had lunch one Father’s Day more than 60 years ago—and recorded the sixth episode of Eating the Fantastic while seated in the same booth they’d once occupied.

Andy’s an award-winning writer many times over, having won a Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a Nebula Award, and three World Fantasy Awards. Plus he’s also been nominated for the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards. His collections include Beluthahatchie and Other Stories (which came out in 2000) and The Pottawatomie Giant and Other Stories (published in 2011).


We discussed the profound influence of Richard Pryor on his writing, why he loves playing with real-world historical characters and events in his stories, what it was like to collaborate with Ellen Klages on their award-winning novella “Wakulla Springs,” what, if anything, writing teachers can teach, and more.

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Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

I love opening nights, and not just when it comes to the theater. When a restaurant opens its doors for the first time, there’s a mood created which no longer exists later on once the unfamiliar rhythms settle into a perfected routine. Both staff and customers are filled with excitement and wonder, and as they’re both experiencing the venue for the first time, maybe even a tickle of uncertainty as well.

Will it all come together? Will confidence be rewarded? At the outset, you can never be sure. But one always begins filled with hope.

Which is why, when Aaron Silverman announced that Pineapple and Pearls—his spinoff from Rose’s Luxury—was going to open in April, I knew Irene and I had to be there. After all, Bon Appétit had judged Rose’s Luxury to be 2014’s best new restaurant in America, so Pineapple and Pearls promised to be something quite special.

And it was.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Pineapple and Pearls opened its first phase—a coffee shop serving amazing sandwiches and sweet rolls—on February 12. Though I wasn’t able to get there for its opening day, I was able to pop in exactly one week later, when I was in D.C. to record an episode of my Eating the Fantastic podcast, and I checked out the entire menu.

To experience the coffee shop, all I needed to do was show up. But to get a table for the fine dining component, I had to work my Internet magic the moment reservations opened. Luckily, I was able to grab a table for the first seating on the first night.

And so, at 5:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, we arrived at Pineapple and Pearls—me wearing a pineapple, Irene wearing the pearls—and were immediately handed mint juleps. (Sans alcohol, of course, for we had chosen the non-alcoholic pairings, as we always do.)


Once we were led to our table, I peered over to the kitchen and spotted what felt like a historic moment which cried out to be captured—head chef Scott Muns and chef/owner Aaron Silverman conferring as service began.Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )


Originally published at Scott Edelman. Please leave any comments there.

March was another month which brought fewer dreams than usual. What it all means, why the drop-off, I don’t know. I’ve been gathering the dreams I’ve tweeted and sharing them here since December 2009, attempting to keep them a little less ephemeral. But now that I think about it, perhaps all this dream tweeting has made them more ephemeral.

After all, the first dream I shared, back on November 30, 2007, took up nearly 300 words, not a mere 140 characters. So perhaps by tweeting, I’ve lost more than I’ve gained. Something for me to think about. But while I do …

In December, I dreamt of Jon Stewart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Fred Astaire, Daryl Dixon, David Hartwell, and many other surprise guest stars. And here they are …

March 2016

I dreamt I flew to North Korea on a secret mission for the government. Now that I’m awake, though — I don’t remember what the mission was! Mar 31

I dream I was collaborating with Harlan Ellison on a short story … about which I remember nothing other than Ponce de León was involved. Mar 30

I dreamt I explained to a friend the reason I was fearless as a teen was not arrogance, but naïveté. It seemed important she understood. Mar 30

I dreamt I was packing up statues Jack Kirby had made of all the characters he’d created (to send to a museum) and was afraid I’d chip them. Mar 30

I dreamt I got into a conversation with Jon Stewart about kids, ending up reciting the whole of “This Be the Verse.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rjRYSfCJvM Mar 29

Last night, I dreamt I explained a story idea at a convention. It was an intriguing idea. But awake, it’s not one I’d ever choose to write. Mar 26

I dreamt @Nalo_Hopkinson and I were hosting a fundraising marathon and had to talk and entertain for DAYS while urging people to donate. Mar 26

I dreamt I was in a Shakespeare play with Eddie Izzard and Maggie Smith, which was put on hold when he got into fight with the set designer. Mar 25

I dreamt Harlan Ellison was about to climb into the ring for a boxing match, then decided he’d rather live, so we went for deli instead. Mar 24

I dreamt I watched on set as Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh filmed an episode of NYPD Blue with Dennis Franz. Got to chat with them, too. Mar 23Read the rest of this entry »Collapse )